Arsenio Hall could soon find himself back in the dog pound. The Arsenio Hall Show returned to television last month after a nearly 20-year hiatus, but the Celebrity Apprentice winner has seen his comeback plagued by terrible ratings and reviews. With the executive producer of the program, Neal Kendall, jumping ship earlier this week, rumors are already spreading that Hall’s show will soon be canceled.
Media reporter Robert Feder released shocking ratings that show a 40 percent drop in numbers over the last month. Ratings for the show’s target demographic, ages 18–49, have also seen a decline from a 1.0 to a 0.4. The format of the show hasn’t changed much since it aired in the early ‘90s, which Feder said must change if Hall has a chance of surviving into 2014.
“It’s too soon to declare the show dead, but there’s no way it can survive on Hall’s charisma and nostalgia alone,” Feder wrote. “Plagued by miserable monologues (hint: jokes are supposed to be laughed at — not applauded), lame bits and lackluster guests, it needs to get a lot better. And fast.”
Hall has admitted the show is experiencing growing pains during his comeback, but said he is hardly ready to consider the prospect of his show being canceled. “The toughest part of doing the show is realizing that the word ‘business’ is larger than the word ‘show,’” he said. “A lot of people love entertainment, but at the end of the day, it’s show business. And you have to understand that to make it the right show.”
Apart from a few voiceover roles and dabbling in stand-up comedy, Hall had largely stepped away from the spotlight in order to raise his son after The Arsenio Hall Show was canceled in 1994. He returned to television last year and won Celebrity Apprentice, but even that win was marred by controversy. Fellow contestant Adam Carolla said his victory was rigged in order to boost Hall’s television comeback.
"When they gave it to Arsenio, I was confused. I couldn't believe it," he said on his podcast. "Later on, I talked to another one of the chicks (on the show) and she was de-mic'ed and I said, 'What's the deal?' And she said, 'Oh, Arsenio's got a deal with NBC or deal with whatever company and this is what they're doing or this is how it works.'"